5 Cat Flap Benefits: How a Cat Door Helps with Raising a Happy Kitten
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Let’s look at the benefits of a cat flap and what to consider before installation. We’ll also discuss how to train your pet to use a cat door.
Cats like to come and go as they please, as they are independent creatures that love being outside. If you’re not home all day, a cat flap will offer your pet the opportunity to wander, enjoy the sunshine and pounce on insects.
In rural locations, cats can spend more time outside, and many will even stay out overnight. You could install a cat flap on your home, shed, or outbuilding door to provide your pet with somewhere safe and dry to hide.
Cats kept in urban areas have less freedom. The owner should assess whether it’s safe for their pet to venture out unaccompanied. Installing a cat flap in your door or window will allow your pet to explore your garden or balcony. Ensure you use a cat fence or netting to keep your pet in a safe area.
1. Gives Your Cat More Freedom
Cats can be very annoying and often change their minds; they want to go out one minute. The next, they’re meowing and asking to come back inside again.
If your cat keeps changing his mind, having a cat door fitted may be a good idea. A cat flap will allow your pet to go out to the toilet without relying on you to open and close the door. You’ll no longer have to ponder to the whims of your pet; he’ll be able to come and go as he pleases.
2. Your Cat Won’t Wake You at Night
On the subject of cats being annoying, have you ever woken up during the night due to a nocturnal cat? Your pet may have decided he wants to go for a walk or has been left outside and would rather be indoors.
Most cat owners without a cat flap will experience these situations occasionally. The unlucky ones may be woken nightly or even several times a night. Fitting a cat flap is a simple solution that will allow your whole family to get a good night’s sleep.
3. Health and Exercise
Cats that live in a home with a cat flap are more independent and get more exercise. Installing a cat door may improve your pet’s health. Regular exercise helps cats remain in good health as they age. Active cats are less likely to suffer from problems such as obesity and diabetes.
House cats can get bored, especially if they’re left alone all day. A cat flap will allow your pet to explore, provide mental stimulation and help reduce boredom.
A cat flap will also make life safer for your cat. He’ll be able to access your home to hide if another cat or a predator is chasing him. Choosing a microchip cat flap is a good option as it will stop other cats from entering your home. Having a cat flap installed will also allow your pet to find shelter if the weather turns bad.
5. Ability to escape from stressful situations
Sometimes stressful situations happen in the home. A heated argument between family members, the introduction of a new pet, or a visitor your cat’s unsure of. In these situations, your furry friend may need some alone time and want to make himself scarce. A cat flap will provide your pet with a means of escape.
Investing in a microchip cat flap or magnetic door will provide extra security. Neighbours cats won’t be able to get into your house.
Should I get a cat flap for my cat?
Most cats benefit from having more freedom and being able to go outside. Before deciding whether to get a cat flap, you’ll need to consider the potential dangers. Here are some things to consider before installing a cat flap or cat door:
How safe is your neighbourhood? Do you feel happy letting your cat out alone? If you live in a rural area, the answer to these questions is likely to be yes. Installing a cat flap will mean your cat won’t need to rely on you opening the door.
In urban areas, you’ll need to access the area for hazards. If you live near a busy main road, it may be best not to let your cat out unaccompanied.
Instead, you may consider cat-proofing your garden. Use a cat fence or netting, and only let your pet out when you are home. Alternatively, consider training your pet to walk on a harness and take him to a quiet area for a walk.
The age of your cat
You’ll also need to consider the age and health of your cat before installing a cat flap. It’s best not to let your kitten outside unaccompanied if he is less than six months old. At this age, your kitten will be more mature and less likely to get lost. Please wait until your cat has had all his vaccinations so that he doesn’t pick up any germs from other cats.
Older cats may be set in their ways and are used to having a servant open the door for them. If your cat waits patiently beside the door to be let out, he will likely adapt and use a cat flap. Cats that remain outside until they are called home may be more reluctant to use a cat door.
As all cats have different personalities, it’s hard to tell whether your pet would use a cat flap. Some homeowners find that their older cat adapts pretty quickly. Others end up with a useless hole in their door, which their cat never seems to use.
One of the main reasons people decide against a cat flap is that they worry other cats will come into their homes. There are several different types of cat flaps, doors, and portals on the market. Many are triggered by your cat’s microchip or a magnet on a collar, so this shouldn’t be a concern. Nowadays, there are even cat flaps that come with a mobile app. You can remotely lock or unlock your cat flap from any location.
How to Train Your Cat to Use a Cat Flap
Some cats will quickly learn to use a cat flap after being shown their new door once or twice. Others may take a bit longer. Here’s how to train your cat or kitten to use a cat flap.
1. Introduce the cat flap to your pet
Show your cat their new door and place a treat in front of the flap. You can then open the cat flap gently with your finger. Be careful not to scare your cat by abruptly dropping the flap. You don’t want to end up creating negative associations with the cat flap. Some cats will be curious and will immediately go through the cat flap.
2. Tape the cat flap open
If your cat is a bit timid and doesn’t seem interested in the cat flap, you could tape it open using heavy-duty tape. This will make the door more prominent and inviting for your cat. A timid cat will be more likely to go through a cat flap if they can see what’s on the other side.
3. Use some cat treats as a reward
Go to the other side of the cat flap and entice your pet with some cat treats.
4. Repeat the process
Your cat will likely learn to use their new cat flap fairly quickly. Reluctant cats can be encouraged a few times each day until they get used to the idea.
It’s important not to force your pet through the door when teaching him to use the cat flap. Let your cat take it slowly, and he will become more confident in time.
5. Take the tape off the cat flap door
Once your cat is confident using the cat door, it’s time to drop the flap. Your cat will learn to push gently against the cat flap to open it. Once he can do this, he’ll have more freedom. You can always lock the cat flap if there are times you’d rather keep your pet indoors.
Cat Flap Benefits: Final Thoughts
Most cats benefit from being outdoors, but it’s worth weighing up the potential risks with the health benefits a cat flap will provide. Cat doors offer freedom, mental stimulation, and access to the garden for toilet trips.
Now that you’ve decided to invest in a cat door, it’s time to choose the right type for your home and pet. Check out our article, ‘How to choose the Best Cat Flap, Cat Door or portal for your home,’ which discusses the different types of cat flaps available.